- Movie Rating -

Chariot (2022)

| April 15, 2022

There is a line in Chariot that I think pretty much sums up the entirety of the film: “Surely, it had to mean something.”  When the movie was over, this is what was on my mind.  Chariot is a strange comedy blending science fiction and reincarnation with a lot of really fun and unique things strewn about, but it is outdone by a dull, confusing narrative and a leading man who could act as the latest cure for insomnia.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let me give you the general set-up and the things that I liked first.  Chariot involves Harrison Hardy (Thomas Mann) who is seeing a therapist because he’s having the same dream over and over and over – 500 times by his own count.  It’s not an especially troubling dream, but I suppose it would be if you had to witness it every time you lay me down to sleep.  The dream?  Harrison is a child and the dream takes place from his point of view as his mother is making dinner and his father is in the living room.  His mother asks him to go and ask about buy garlic at the grocery store.  On the way, he passes through a hallway and looks up and notices a red cord that pulls down the ladder to the attic.  That’s when he wakes up.

The dream is troubling because it is freaking him out, but the real question is why his mind is fixated on this dream.  Why does he dream about nothing else?  You wait for that question to come up, but this movie isn’t that smart.  You also might reasonably assume that the dream will be dissected and that the pieces mean something, but they really don’t, it’s just a morass of images that gets him into the office of a shrink named Dr. Karn (John Malkovich) with a very weird shock of red hair and a manner of speaking that has a purpose that I suppose is known only to him.

These elements are a long frustrating wheel within a wheel that really spin off into an aggravating bucket of who cares.  What I did like were the people that he meets when he moves into The Lafayette, an eccentric hotel with characters that seem to be waiting for a Tim Burton movie to break out.  First, Harrison meets Maria (Rosa Salazar) a woman that knows him from a previous life but he doesn’t know her since he has no memory of his previous life.  He is pretty, sweet and bizarre in a way is really intriguing.  The hotel is also host to a guy who floats through the lobby, another guy who sees himself as the last salvation of the endangered turtles, and a woman who has a split personality that includes a very toxic Cockney man who is none too pleased that his other half only has sex with men.

I liked these characters and I might have been happy just to spend some time getting to know them and seeing what kind of shenanigans that might befall them – an anthology of weirdness.  But the movie keeps coming back to Harrison and Dr. Karn and their confusing union formed by the kid’s dream and this nonsense about reincarnation.  Honestly, I couldn’t follow it, and I didn’t care.  I was more interested in the people orbiting them.  They’re interesting, they’re fun.  I liked their strangeness.  The rest bored me to tears.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2022) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy